I had a hard day yesterday and what’s most troubling about is that it was caused by me and showed a flaw in who I am that I haven’t experiences in many years. When I was a young father I would often take the actions of my 7 yr old twins as an indication of their lack of respect for me. Everything was personally about them working against me. A slight directed my way, what ever you want to call it. Thing is, I didn’t know that is what I thought. I was just getting really mad as things built up until I finally erupted in a personal fit. I began to realize that there were just times when I couldn’t take it anymore and would burst. I was experiencing, all have experienced, some chronic depression issues so with the encouragement of my wife I entered counseling.
Counseling was something that I didn’t go into with any open mind. The first thing I did was lay down my own ground rules; Number one was that we were not going to go into my childhood and look for ways my mother f’d with my head. I lived in NYC in the 90s and knew too many people with mommy and daddy issues, get the f over it and move on. Larry, the therapist I was assigned to seemed amused by my insistence and we moved right along.
It didn’t take him long, in terms of a cognitive therapy timeline, to get to the root of the way I looked at things. It took a bit of time for me to understand it. I thought I was there to calm myself down and let things go. What I didn’t realize was that it was more than just not getting so mad. I worked hard to understand and as time went by I found myself looking at the actions of others as nothing more than the actions of others. I was able to be more objective. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t still need to work on that but at least I understood what was getting me to that boiling point.
I’m not a therapist and this is not a therapy blog so we’ll leave my therapy at that.
Cutting to today, 11 yrs later. I find myself reverting back to those same tendencies. The upside is that I recognize it this time around am trying to address it. Today, I failed. I don’t know if it’s Covid fatigue and a lingering fear that my business has suffered too much and can’t come back. I don’t know if it’s the growing feeling of failure. As what was a successful business for so many years had been faltering for the two years prior to Covid, with that seeming to be cherry on top of my feelings of failure.
My daughter, and son, for that matter are teenagers having lived their senior high school year in a Covid closure and are college freshman in a Covid open. Life is not easy on them. My daughter has some anxiety issues regardless. She’s a great girl and has made so many gains in her life. I’m truly proud of her. But she is a slob, who leaves a trail of carnage behind her wherever she goes. Who has homework in 4 places in the house?!?
My wife, when frustrated comes to me first about the kids, placing that much more stress on me about them. I’m not sure if that is where it started, my feeling that it’s about me and not just teens being teens… Teens who imagined dorm life and freedom, not a reworking of plans and being at home.
I don’t want to embarrass her or my family… or me any further and go into details. I yelled and screamed and said things I can never take back. It’s not about slighting me, she is trying to grow and find herself. I feel responsible to help her and managed to begin internalizing things again. I am sorry.